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HISTORY Abroad

History and historical events rarely ever happen within a bubble.....

Like the example of Chaos Theory that has been toted by many over the years regarding a Butterfly flapping in one part of the world having the ability to possibly cause a Tsunami in another part of the world; the effects of events like a wave, ripple throughout the world.

Napolean III and Empress Eugenie- Black
EVENTS OF THE 1870'S
Maison de Pillars- Napolean III and Empr

Manet, Monet, Morisot, Renoir, Degas, Courbet, Caillebotte, Gauguin, as well as countless other modern artist and fashionista's have these two larger than life personalities to thank for revolutionizing the worlds of Art & Fashion. Napoleon III and Princess Eugenie were the equivalents of a latter day power couple. He, an optimistic modernizer with a completely unrealistic assessment of his military's "battle-ready" capabilities. Her, a Spanish -born French Empress with a huge influence on Haute Couture fashion, jewelry, and the French aristocracy. Through the aid of her brilliantly talented fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth (the Father of Haute Couture), her orders for hundreds of extravagant evening wear gowns, court dresses, and masquerade costumes helped lay the foundation for Paris to become the fashion capital of the world and set the stage for the American Aristocratic fashion scene. The luxurious fashions as well as lavish adornment of sparkling jewels that helped defined the American "Guilded Age" owe a great debt to revolutionary fashion trailblazers like Empress Eugenie.

Charles Frederick Worth's 1870's Haute Couture Fashions
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Fontenay Jewelry
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Empress Eugenie her ladies-in-waiting in Worth creations 
Maison de Pillars- Empress Eugenie with

Napoleon III's impact on modern history was both monumental as well as incredibly fascinating. Napoleon III (Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte; 20 April 1808 – 9 January 1873), the nephew of Napoleon I, was the first president of France, from 1848 to 1852, and the last French monarch, from 1852 to 1870. First elected president of the French Second Republic in 1848, he seized power by force in 1851, when he could not constitutionally be re-elected and became the emperor of the French. He founded the Second French Empire and was its only emperor until the defeat of the French Army and his capture by Prussia and its allies in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. He worked to modernize the French economy, rebuilt the center of Paris, expanded the French overseas empire, and engaged in the Crimean War and the Second Italian War of Independence.

Napoleon III commissioned a grand reconstruction of Paris carried out by his prefect of the Seine, Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann, and launched similar public works projects in Marseille, Lyon, and other French cities. His grand architectural style was so popular it proliferated all throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States (It was the preferred style for the builders of Maison de Pillars). Napoleon III modernized the French banking system, expanded and consolidated the French railway system, and made the French merchant marine the second largest in the world. He promoted the building of the Suez Canal and established modern agriculture, which ended famines in France and made France an agricultural exporter. He negotiated the 1860 Cobden–Chevalier free trade agreement with Britain and similar agreements with France's other European trading partners. Social reforms included giving French workers the right to strike and the right to organize. The first women students were admitted at the Sorbonne and educational opportunities for women were increased, as did the list of required subjects in public schools.

In the areas of Visual Arts:

Napoleon III had a conservative and traditional taste in art: his favorite painters were Alexandre Cabanel and Franz Xaver Winterhalter, who received major commissions, and whose work was purchased for state museums. At the same time, he followed public opinion, and he made an important contribution to the French avant-garde. In 1863, the jury of the Paris Salon, the famous annual showcase of French painting, headed by the ultra-conservative director of the Academy of Fine Arts, Count Émilien de Nieuwerkerke, refused all submissions by avant-garde artists, including those by Édouard Manet, Gustave Courbet, Camille Pissarro, and Johan Jongkind. The artists and their friends complained, and the complaints reached Napoleon III. His office issued a statement: "Numerous complaints have come to the Emperor on the subject of the works of art which were refused by the jury of the Exposition. His Majesty, wishing to let the public judge the legitimacy of these complaints, has decided that the works of art which were refused should be displayed in another part of the Palace of Industry."

Following Napoleon's decree, an exhibit of the rejected paintings, called the Salon des Refusés, was held in another part of the Palace of Industry, where the Salon took place. More than a thousand visitors a day came to see now-famous paintings such as Édouard Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe and James McNeill Whistler's Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

The journalist Émile Zola reported that visitors pushed to get into the crowded galleries where the refused paintings were hung, and the rooms were full of the laughter and mocking comments of many of the spectators. While the paintings were ridiculed by many critics and visitors, the work of the avant-garde became known for the first time to the French public, and it took its place alongside the more traditional style of painting. The Impressionist, as well as Impressionism on a global scale as we know it today, simply would have been a passing artistic fad had it not been for the intervention of Napoleon III. Absent him, and Impressionism as a movement ceases to exist.   (Admired by art experts, popular with the public, and widely exhibited in the world's top museums, Impressionism has dominated the art world for nearly 150 years. Renowned for its painters' pioneering approach to art, the groundbreaking genre has facilitated the emergence and shaped the evolution of several art movements, solidifying its role as the catalyst of modern art.)

From 1866, Napoleon had to face the mounting power of Prussia as its Chancellor Otto von Bismarck sought German unification under Prussian leadership. In July 1870, Napoleon declared war on Prussia without allies and with inferior military forces. The French Army was rapidly defeated and Napoleon III was captured at the Battle of Sedan. He was swiftly dethroned and the French Third Republic was proclaimed in Paris. He went into exile in England, where he died in 1873.

Maison de Pillars: Edouard Manet - Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe
Maison de Pillars: James McNeill -Whistler's Symphony in White, No.1: The White Girl

Other 1870's Interesting Facts:

1) When Paris Ate Rats: During the 1870 siege of Paris by the Prussians, trapped Parisians dined on Rats, Cats, Elephants, and numerous other exotic animals. In that desperate time death due to starvation was rampant and the sewers and zoo became a necessary source of food for survival.

2) How a "Courtesan" saved the world's most famous jeweler, "Cartier": The 1870 blockade and siege of Paris destroyed hundreds of businesses and claimed numerous lives. A quite famous one among them was the gorgeous Italian Courtesan "La Barucci".  Born Giulia Beneni, "La Barruci" won favor through her beautiful Italian looks, her indefatigable determination to win the lover of her choice, and her charming child-like spontaneity. She would proudly show off her large jewelry cabinet to her many wealthy suitors, the contents of which were said to contain extravagant jewels worth millions. She also took pride in keeping her visitors cards in a china bowl by her fireplace - cards which bore the names of nearly every powerful famous wealthy man in Europe known within high society at the time. 

When meeting the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII), she was told to behave with decorum. Upon being introduced, she promptly let her dress fall to the ground exposing her naked body, without a word of warning. When she was reprimanded, she exclaimed, "What, did you not tell me to behave properly to His Royal Highness? I showed him the best I have, and it was free!"

Believe it or not, (after her death) it was the sale of her vast jewelry collection to many within the English Aristocracy (during the siege) by Alfred Cartier, which kept the Cartier jewelry firm afloat. Without them the business would have crumbled like so many others and we would have probably never ever heard of the legendary jewelry house of "Cartier".

3) Richard Wagner releases "Die Walkure":

Die Walkure (The Valkyrie), WWW86B is the second of the four music drama's that constitute Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, (English: The Ring of the Nibelung). It was performed as a single opera at the National Theatre Munich on 26 June 1870, and received its first performance as part of the Ring Cycle at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on 14 August 1876. 

4) Victorian England: The Death of Charles Dickens:

Charles Dickens (February 7, 1812–June 9, 1870) was a popular English novelist of the Victorian era, and to this day he remains a giant in British literature. Dickens wrote numerous books that are now considered classics, including "David Copperfield," "Oliver Twist," "A Tale of Two Cities," and "Great Expectations." Much of his work was inspired by the difficulties he faced in childhood as well as social and economic problems in Victorian Britain.

01 - The Valkyrie, WWV 86b, Act III_ Rid
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1870 Paris Restaurant Menu
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(1870 Parisian eating a cat.)
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(La Barruci )
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Cartier Jewelers
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Maison de Pillars: Charles Dickens
Maison de Pillars: Queen Victoria and the Victorian Age
Napolean III and Empress Eugenie- Black